new mix above
add old to mix
Picture 1 wood book intro
Photos-Wood-book-1930s-40s-pg-3---left-top-ruth-mc-cartney--dario-mc-cartney-louis-sleep-taken-1937--Louis-Sleep-livonia-farmington-michigan.jpeg--Ruwlna Liurance-doris Mc Carthy-June 1936
Sunday School Class: Audrey-Duprey--May-Spens--June Dupley--Ina Reid--Grace Closl--Juanita Phillips SS Teacher--Ruth--From Elementary and HS school Gang in front of the SS house
May--Hilda-Audey-Duply-Sunday-School-teacher-Philips--Clarenceville gang Rawena Livrance--Narma Fuhr--Gertrude Gibson--Opal Gibson--
Sunday School Class: Audrey-Duprey--May-Spens--June Dupley--Ina Reid--Grace Closl--Juanita Phillips SS Teacher--Ruth--From Elementary and HS school Gang in front of the SS house
Last Orig. Pic
Those Who Helped Us Reach for the Stars
The cold day of January 6, 1920, Ethel May Spens (H) was born. She was born on Fullerton Avenue in Detroit, just off of Grand River. There was the normal hurry and scurry to bring the home birth baby into the world, with none knowing the destiny that awaited her. Where her life would lead her as it unfolded was up to her to choose. She, herself, did not think that as every choice she made led into the next, she was setting the past in stone. She lived normally, day by day, and would not be remembered as a piece of history. She would struggle with life. She would struggle with change. She would never be a famous astronaut, or a part of Mission Control, or even an engineer. But nonetheless, her life became one of the many unspoken ones that tied into making manÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s dream into a reality: landing on the moon. She just didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t know it yet.
In 1922 she and her family moved to Farmington Hills (now Livonia), Michigan, after her dad finished building their new house. At the time, the area that would become Livonia was composed largely of farmlands, a slow-growing suburb outside of bustling Detroit. Her father had hoped to gain sales from the wealthy folks passing through at his new tree nursery, perfectly situated on their own plot of land. However, due to the Great Depression, they ended up spending most of their effort on homesteading and growing their own food. So already the sands of time were shaping her life, creating the grit she would need for the formless future in those difficult times.
She did her best to plod through each day, rejoicing in the good and stoically working through the bad. Most of her days looked the same, a grinding monotony of sameness with glimpses of light. But perhaps that wasnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t so bad. She knew what to expect and she didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t have to worry about trying to do something new right. All she had to do was repeat what she did before. She would wake next to her sister, freezing in the winter and boiling in the summer, to dress in front of the single kerosene heater and dim lantern. She would drink her cup of tea and rush to do her chores before school. If she took too long in winter, her leftover tea would be crusted over with ice. Then she would change into her nicer clothes. When she was younger and could not walk the two miles to school, her father hired a local farm boy to drive her to school on his way to his chores for 3 cents a day. Then it was back home to work in the fields, often weeding or planting. Sometimes she would pass out and her mother would insist that she rest and help indoors until later, helping with canning and cooking. After dinner, she would do her homework, stoke up the fire for the night, and go to bed.
At the end of middle school, her father wanted her to quit and help in the fields. He himself had not gone beyond eighth grade and felt there was no need for a woman to go any further. This was a kink in her plan, but she wasnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t able to fight against him. Her mother, though, came from a richer family in Canada and so was one of the few people at the time who valued education. She put her foot down and asserted that Ethel be allowed to finish high school. Her dad, rarely so upset, threw his tools down and stormed off. Her mother, in doing this, set the course of her daughterÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s life, allowing her to take the opportunities that would open up to her. Without this extra schooling, she would never have been able to end up where she did. She wouldnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t have come to accept the change that she hated so much. For then, though, life continued on as usual.
One weary evening when she was an older teen, after the dayÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s work was done, she was sent to fetch her dad from the fields. It was growing late, and she often had to drag him back inside so he wouldnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t overwork himself. Despite the short walk, the dusk was growing quickly. The curtain of night was beginning to fall over the land and the crickets began their nightly serenade. The cooling air was a welcome relief from the sun. She wove her way between the young trees, some of them already taller than her. Finally, she found him, still hard at work among his beloved trees.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œMother wants you to come inside now.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWait, I want to show you something first.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â His tall frame bent down, resting an arm on the shovel still embedded in the ground. Sweat caked his dirty brow. With one dust-coated finger, he pointed up to the growing moon in darkening sky, open and bright. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œDo you see that moon out there? You see that moon up there?ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
She looked, staring up at the milky moon, so far away, that lit every night. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œYes?ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
He shook his exhausted finger vehemently at the heavens. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œOne dayÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦men are going to walk on that moon.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
She said nothing. But internally, she thought the sun had finally caused him to flip his lid. Perhaps it was true that he had descended from the mad Hatters of England. It simply wasnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t possible for men to walk on the moon. They had never done it before, so they would never be able to do it in the future. She refused to believe anything else.
He followed her back to the house, the day joining the train of all the previous into the past. It wasnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t until many years later that she would realize her father was right all along. Neither did she know how she would be connected to it.
She had never enjoyed farming and the difficulty of homesteading, though she was stubborn and disliked change. Still, it was a big step for her to move into a different field of work than her family. She would have to figure everything out on her own from here. Despite everything holding her back, she chose to change for the first time. So after graduating in ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢39, she worked shortly for a golf course down the road, then quickly moved to Sears. They hired her to transcribe orders based on inventory needs because of her high scores on business tests. She enjoyed making clothing and always dreamed of creating a business for designing them, but was only able to work on it on and off throughout her life. When Sears put her in the back, she was disappointed that she wasnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t able to work with customers and sell clothes. As a result, she only stayed there about a year. By then, whispers of the horror that would become WWII were blowing through the country and the government was already ramping up production of war goods. She heard from a friend that the government was hiring, and she decided to go for it. She had the education for it and the sameness of typing would allow her to stay in a safe and habitual workplace. They took her right away since she could type at a steady 60 wpm with no mistakes. From there, she started at Fort Wayne in Detroit. She was transferred five times throughout her career, most during the war, including the Penobscot building where she witnessed a woman jump off the building upon hearing her husband had died during battle. She dated a bit, but she felt that all the men who came back from the war were drunken, which she despised. So the years went on, blurring into history like the lines of the countless documents. After years of rationing and catching public transportation, WWII finally ended. People celebrated in the streets, but for her life went on, and the subsequent Cold War meant more orders were to be typed. She had found her niche and she didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t intend to leave it.
Her final transfer signed her over to the U.S. Air Force department in Detroit. She was put in charge of a dozen secretaries to help with the orders for bomber parts. Despite the fact that there were no on-ground troops, B-52s were constantly kept in the air so production never stopped. It was fast-paced work, but it paid well and became a steady job.
She worked there for two years before she met Paul William Spens. A friend suggested she meet a man upstairs during the coffee break where different levels were allowed to mingle. She objected, believing that he would never be interested in a person like her. The idea of letting a person into her heart after so many years alone was not only scary, it was near impossible. Her friend insisted, introducing her in spite of EthelÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s lack of expectations. They began to talk in line, having coffee together. After a few times, he came over and asked her to go with him for coffee. They progressed to lunch, then to a park visit, then to dating for a year. He proposed on a date to Topinka's Country House, an expensive club restaurant where higher-class people went to socialize. They were married in 1954.
After so many years of hard work, she was grateful to finally have someone trustworthy to rely on and easily relinquished the bills, no longer needing to work. She knew that he would take care of them, so she didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t have to worry or struggle the way she had her whole life. She retired from her job and they moved into her family house, which was now hers. So even though the marriage brought her a lot of change, it also allowed her to remain close to her roots. Livonia had just become a city, but it was still country. He loved the nature and she didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t mind, making the move an easy decision.
Paul was quiet and mild-mannered, a smart but humble man. Unlike his wife, he worked with new technology and embraced the learning that came with it. He was more extroverted than her, but still did not like large crowds. He worked as an inspector for the Airforce, checking and settling disagreements on aircraft electrical systems. He had been a principal, coach, teacher, an engineer, an inventor, and was an outdoorsman his whole life. He had a BachelorÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s degree in Petroleum Science and a MasterÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s in Electrical Systems, but notwithstanding his varied interests, he fell into government work through instructing new repairmen in aircraft electrical systems. They balanced each other out, him teaching her to embrace change more and her teaching him to settle down when needed.
The two of them were 58 and 39, but after they had given up on children, they were blessed with a single son, Richard Paul Spens, in December of 1959. This brought a lot of change in the household, bringing uncertainty to a pair of parents who has never dealt with children. Still, they were learning that some things are worth changing for. They were strict, but loving, on the little handful that brought so much joy and life into the house. He was raised going camping, doing chemistry, and watching his dad build and take things apart. Finally there was someone new to share knowledge with.
On May 25, 1961, everything in the country changed. President John F. Kennedy, at the height of the Cold War, announced his plan to land a man on the Moon by the end of the decade. People didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t think it could be done; they thought it was a wasted political move. Even with the new developments of computers beginning to take off, most people thought they would fail and fizzle out. But within a year, Paul transferred to BurrowÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Adding Machine Company in Plymouth, Michigan. He worked on developing the first small guidance system (an early computer) for the Gemini system until the program ended. Then he moved to Bendix Aerospace in Ann Arbor to work on the packages that were being prepared for the Apollo Moon Missions. Many things he worked on never made it to the Moon, but the Laser Ranging Retroreflector he inspected ended up on the Apollo 11. ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s likely that he touched and inspected the retroflector itself that went up in the rocket. He even saw Wernher von Braun, the mastermind of the American Space Program, from 30 feet away, and Paul was introduced in a group as one of the inspectors.
The hard work continued for eight long years. His wife was aware of his work, but even after having come to accept change more, this particular change was inconceivable. People lived their lives as if nothing significant was happening. To them, it was normal and didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t mean anything. It wasnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t believable even up to the very moment it happened, until it became a moment in history that is now accepted as a fact.
July 16, 1969:
Millions of Americans watched in person or from their tiny black and white T.V.s as the sweat and blood of countless workers was ready to begin its mission. The giant rocket stood tall and white, the lettering marking it as the U.S.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s shining proudly in the sun. No one knew if it would actually work. After everything was ready, a hush fell over the crowds.
The announcer spoke to world when he began to count down, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œTwelve, eleven, ten, nine, ignition sequence start, six, five, four, three, two, oneÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â His voice faded as the whoosh of flames overtook the audio.
People stood in disbelief, trying to get a closer look at the marvel in the making. Red flames mixed with the curling black and white smoke erupting from the bottom of the rocket. It grew brighter and brighter, billowing out around the base as the flames steadied. Silently, behind the scenes, workers scurried to check all the systems in order to take off on schedule. Cleared, the oxygen pipes finished filling and pulled away. Then the white fueling pipes were blown away, spraying chunks of ice down to the ground far below. These giant flakes of ice fell from the rocket like snowflakes fluttering to the ground. Finally, the gigantic clamps released one by one as the bolts exploded off, beginning to free the restrained rocket. It started to rise into the sky. The noise is deafening; the vibrations are almost unbearable. The sparkers and flames glow as bright as the sun. The gangway collapses into a heap. Bit by bit, it ascends like a majestic eagle into the great blue atmosphere. It ascends so slowly that it seems to last forever, but then suddenly the rocket is gone.
The people are dumbfounded, staring up into the sky. They barely understand what theyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢re seeing. But in reality, its mission has only just begun. Taking off was easy in comparison to what comes next. The bigger question now is whether it can succeed in it mission to land a living man on the moon and take him home safely.
July 20-21, 1969:
Four days before, the world had held its breath. But now, people had gone on with their lives in the time since the launch. Only the people at NASA were hard at work, overlooking the flight of Apollo 11. But today, it was a day that was like no other in history, unique in its own pivotal moment for mankind. The Eagle landed with little public notice, no camera to film, at 20:17 UTC. Six hours and thirty-nine minutes later, July 21 at 02:56 UTC, Louis Armstrong set foot on the moon.
Americans crowded around their small T.V.s, up late for one reason: to see the landing. Paul woke up his son, only nine at the time, to watch the historic moment in front of their black and white T.V. Richard was exhausted, but his father insisted that one day he would want to remember this day. He had no thoughts about it at the time, bored when it wasnt like a regular show, but like his mother, later realized his dad was right. She herself joined to watch the broadcast later on, catching only the end of it. Still, that was enough to show that despite all the odds, mankind had accomplished the thing she had deemed foolish notions in her childhood. It was the moment she finally had to confront change and accept that it would always happen. She would never fully embrace change. No habitual person does, and even adventurous people have their limits. However, seeing that impossible rocket, she was able to realize that all of the difficult changes she had faced in her life were worth the struggle. They had brought so much goodness into her life that she had never thought could happen.
Blurry film and grainy audio showed Louis Armstrong stepping down the ladder and onto the ground of the Moon for the first time. His bulky spacesuit and awkward movements showed his unfamiliarity with the territory, but his bravery shone through. He uncovered a plaque from Earth with pictures stating, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œHere men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Mission Control calmly guided the astronaut through his actions, showing no trace of the excitement at their success. It wasnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t over yet.
His foot on the ground, Armstrong uttered one of the most famous statements of all time, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s one small step for [a] manÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦one giant leap for mankind. It is believed that the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â was spoken, but obscured by static, which is why it is often included in a bracket but not heard in the recording. He went on to describe the soil to an enthusiastic audience as being ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“like powdered chand ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“in fine layers under his feet. 19 minutes later, when Buzz Aldrin joined Armstrong, Aldrin described it simply as "magnificent desolation." The awestruck people watched as they moved, took samples, spoke to the President, and placed a flag in the ground. America had done it. They had been the first. They had claimed the moon for their own.
They left behind several items, mementos of lost astronauts and equipment to lighten the shuttle, and began the trip back. Everyone took a deep breath once they were safely home again. Time began moving again from where it had seemed to be stuck.
To the Present:
It feels like it was a long time ago, but the Moon Mission was recent enough to remember. One day when he took his son to work, Richard saw a prototype of a lunar rover. Another time, he went up into B-52 winding up for take-off at Selfridge Air Force Base. And to this day, he still remembers these stories fondly, even if both of his parents are gone. He passes them on to his own four children, who record them in their memories and, with luck, down to their children after them.
To the generations now, man being able to land on the Moon is a given. There is not a doubt in their mind. Yes, there are those who deny it and try to say that it is fake. But those who witnessed it, they know the truth. And as more digital recreation is done, it becomes more and more clear that it could not have been faked. Yet the people at the time couldn¢t believe it themselves. No one thought it would have been possible. My grandmother, Ethel, was not unusual in thinking that it would never happen. She spent much of her life stubbornly objecting to change like that landing on the Moon would bring. Ironically, though, she married a man who helped to make it happen and became a part of the story that is slowly eroding. She worked to keep the house she grew up in. She lived and died in that house, passing it on to her son. Even in her last years, she wished to rejoin her husband who had passed too soon before her. Like words on the sands of Now, the waves of Time wash it all away. Her son now is married and has his own children who are going off and beginning to make their own lives. Within each of them is a piece of the story as long as they live and remember it. Life always changes, but some things stay the same.
No one at the time realized yet how this would be in every textbook from then on and would become an essential piece of information for all young children. No one now thinks about the everyday people that were a part of it then. Nonetheless, kids learn that with hard work and the imagination to try to make it possible, humans can achieve impossible dreamseven if it means escaping their own atmosphere. There are disappointments and mistakes along the way. It took many years and failures for the U.S. to finally achieve their goal. But now that humankind has set foot on the Moon, it helps to encourage each child to reach for their own stars. They can embrace the change they need to in order to create the next moment as important as the first Man on the Moon.
My father (Richard Paul Spens. his son) and his stories of his parents and his life
https://airandspace.si.edu/exhibitions/apollo-to-the-moon/online/racing-to-space/moon-decision.cfm (Smithsonian article on President KennedyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s speech)
https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/experiment/display.action?id=1969-059C-04 (NASA article on experiments taken on the Apollo 11)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygBxN5UiOaM (Apollo 11 Takeoff)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_11 (Wiki article on Apollo 11)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9HdPi9Ikhk (Apollo 11 Moonwalk)